By Simone Jane
“Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?” is the candid memoir by David J. Haskins chronicling his life from childhood through the formation of the band Bauhaus through the aftermath that was Love and Rockets and into his delving of the strange world of Black Magick. This will be the 2nd edition of the book with more unpublished photos plus a full Peter Murphy timeline and new cover art.
The book is a rollercoaster ride of a bibliography of the Bauhaus history for super fans of a band that sparked a gothic movement. Who is not aware of ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ nine-minute anthem? “It was the year after we finished the tour in 2006,” David recalled, “I felt a pressure to write the book that I couldn’t hold back. It was like a cathartic exorcism to write the story. It is a rich and quite unusual tale, especially when I got into the whole occult and how it impacted the narrative.” The tome was extremely descriptive mainly due to Andrew Brooksbank, a super fan, who put out a book called “Beneath the Mask”, which was basically a scrapbook on Bauhaus which is a main resource behind the timeline facts for the Bauhaus section of the book. In conjunction with David’s dairies and daybooks that go back to 1980, he had journals that are much more detailed. In fact, some of the conversations he wrote down immediately after they happened, sometimes in the back of his tour itinerary. He had all of these mnemonic devices to piece it all together.
The book is very well written. David started writing at an early age. He recalls a teacher that had a huge impression on him, Mr. Elderkin. David recalls, “He was very encouraging, he looked like a member of The Rolling Stones circa 1966. He was a great mentor, very controversial, kind of like the teacher in Dead Poet’s Society.” David continuous, “He was very maverick, and he would literally throw the textbook across the room. He had his own syllabus, and of course, he would get chastised by the other teachers for it. He would be sent away and we would have a ‘stand-in teacher’, but he would be back a couple of weeks later in his sports car.” Mr. Elderkin turned David on to Dylan Thomas who he would try to mimic his writing to, but Mr. Elderkin would take him to task for it. David’s exercise book would have in red ink, his teacher would write, this is Dylan Thomas, “BE YOU!!!” with three exclamation marks. Who could be a better teacher?
David did not consult the other members of the band when he wrote this memoir. The title of the book, though originally surrounded by the origin of John Lennon’s murder, has since evolved into the idea of reflecting a sort of romantic side of Bauhaus, not the original meaning. David explains, “It was pretty surreal, as like who killed the band; that is what I am inferring to here. I mean that was the spark to the song, it was Lennon’s murder, but when I wrote it, it became abstract. I didn’t consult with them because I knew if I did it would be dead in the water. I didn’t want to be inhibited; I wanted to tell my truth. I couldn’t pander to personal concerns emasculating my work.” His relationship with Peter Murphy was tenuous at best throughout the years, encapsulating with a dramatic knockout swing of a microphone that Peter never apologized for. “My relationship with Peter is mending,” David explains, “It’s at a better point than it’s been in a very long time. I can’t elaborate. It’s all I can say at the moment.” Relationships with members aside, exploring the occult brings you into the world and the mind of David and his immersion into the magical maelstrom of black magick.
“I think even as a kid I was practicing magic. I was very good at manifesting things just by honing my will,” David recalls, “My family on my mum’s side has always been very psychic. My mum would have interactions with dead relatives in a very matter of fact way.” She would mention to David that she had just talked to his Nan, and she acted like it was the next door neighbor popping around for a cup of tea. “I feel a great affinity towards that inclination,” David insists. At one point it got to be too much. “It got to the point where I ceremoniously relinquished my magical torch. It felt right to do that. When I buried my dagger in the desert, it was an exquisite object, but I had to let it go,” David laments, “When I got back to my house, I wanted to look at it one more time. I had pictures of it on my computer, but they had mysteriously disappeared. Things manifest and things disappear, but they manifest somewhere else.” Letting go of something and looking back on your life and career can be difficult.
“Memories of my life and the nostalgia have been good but some have been difficult,” David recalls, “Especially the phase where I stole records from Wax Trax. I mean what was I doing? I actually still have those records and I plan on sending them back.” David also recalls the catastrophic fire at Rick Rubin’s that the band almost did not escape from, “It had a real phoenix effect on the band,” David says. The equipment wasn’t the bands main concern. “We were glad we got out alive,” David marveled, “We became stronger because of it, rising literally from the ashes of it. When I see clips of us ‘post’ fire, we have an edge to us I hadn’t seen before.” Alive and well to tell the tale of his life and the bands he has helped to create. The 2nd edition of “Who Killed Mr. Moonlight” will be out at the end of October 2017.